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On the way to N'awlins....

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On the way to N'awlins....

Postby swoon_queen » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:43 pm

Driving down to New Orleans next week (post-Super Bowl but in the heart of Mardi Gras) and wondering if any Madisonians who've made the trip have suggestions as to where to stop along the way?

Much appreciated!
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby jman111 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:48 pm

I hear South Beloit is just lovely this time of year...
Anyway, enjoy your trip.
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby jjoyce » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:55 pm

Drive it like you stole it. Why waste your money between here and the dinin'/drinkin'/debauchin' capital of the U.S.

Go to Donna's and tell 'em Mama Digdowns sent you. Seriously. She knows those dudes.

http://www.donnasbarandgrill.com/
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby swoon_queen » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:58 pm

jjoyce wrote:Drive it like you stole it. Why waste your money between here and the dinin'/drinkin'/debauchin' capital of the U.S.

Go to Donna's and tell 'em Mama Digdowns sent you. Seriously. She knows those dudes.

http://www.donnasbarandgrill.com/


Good point! Alas, I don't think my co-pilot's game for driving straight through. Thanks for the tip on Donna's. I'll definitely take suggestions for must-see places in New Orleans as well. I've only been there one other time, and it was all too brief.
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby Logjam » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:44 pm

Stop in Memphis for some bbq.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-bar-b-q-shop-memphis

http://www.hogsfly.com/TheRestaurant.php

http://www.leonardsbarbecue.com/index.html

I think Beale Street is a little overrated, but the bbq is not. Be sure to get bbq spaghetti!
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:07 pm

Not sure about on the way, but once there, you will find Mardi Gras the best festival in the country. Hope you're bringing a costume. If not, improvising isn't too hard. Pace yourself and get sleep when you can.

Some warm-up music:
http://www.wwoz.org/

They've been playing some excellent Mardi Gras music in the early afternoon all this week. Wish I was headed there.

Please follow up with a report!
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby wallrock » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:20 pm

I was just down last week, arriving post-NFC Championship game and leaving before last weekend's Krewe du Vieux parade. This time we didn't drive, opting for the train overnight instead. However I've done the drive more than a few times. I've done both I-55 and I-57 - both are exceedingly long and have few items of interest if you're just passing through (though I do know that the Steak 'n Shake in Bloomington is where drunken ISU kids go at bartime). I've heard Champaign-Urbana is nice but who the hell wants to stop there in winter.

I agree that Memphis is the best stop, and I also agree that Beale is a bit too touristy. As for BBQ, I liked Central BBQ the best of all the places I've been (http://www.yelp.com/biz/central-bbq-memphis-2) but it's not exactly easy to find if you're downtown. Rendezvous has great atmosphere but only serves dry rub and can be super crowded. We also did the Pig on Beale a few years back and I recall it fondly. Later than night we hit up the Flying Saucer, which is a beer bar with a ton of different taps. I was 3/4 a fan of the place, since it was pretty loud and charged a cover that night, but I've heard other testimonials in full favor so maybe it was just me.

Hard to go wrong in New Orleans if you get away from the Bourbon Street tourist traps. We stayed at the Le Richelieu Hotel on Chartres in the Quarter, which I recommend if you don't mind older hotels with "character." Coop's on Decatur has excellent food - not exactly a rare quality down there, but this place is one of the best of the best. We also hit Maximos for dinner one night, an Italian joint next door to Coop's that was very good if a tad bit pricey. I also can't say enough about the food at the Verti Marte - try the "All That Jazz" po' boy, or one of their giant muffalettas. Hell, try anything they sell, it's all good. Plus they're open 24 hours. Have a great time - I've been back for less than a week and already miss the place.
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:26 pm

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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby kiwiwannabe » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:40 am

I'm leaving tomorrow, and I can't stand this waiting.....

Take the river road once in a while after Memphis, for a change of pace. Go to Clarksdale, Mississippi and the intersection of Hwys 61 and 49 while singing "I went down to the crossroads...."

Once in NOLA, take the St. Charles streetcar out through the Garden District and get out and check out some of the local bars. Still only $1.25, and well worth it. Don't call it a trolley!

Ditto on Donna's - musicians hang there and they'll talk to you if you don't act like a tourist.

Mardi Gras is one day - Tuesday, the 16th. The rest of the season is known as Carnival, and it is a party all the time. Get out of the Quarter for the parades and celebrate with the locals somewhere out on St. Charles. You'll get more throws that way, and no one will be spilling their drinks on you, either.

Follow one of the second line parades from bar to bar as long as you can. Listen to the Mardi Gras Indians show on WWOZ on Sunday - starts at 11, last I heard - to get some history and perspective on Carnival in the black community.

For jazz and other great music, hit Frenchman Street. That's where the interesting music is being played. Good food over there, too. Simple, filling and cheap.

Enjoy! Laissez les bon temps roulez.......
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby eriedasch » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:48 pm

Logjam wrote:Stop in Memphis for some bbq.

http://www.hogsfly.com/TheRestaurant.php

We ate at this place last fall coming back from N'Orleans. I'm no bbq expert, but I thought it was great (dry rub) and recommended by many of the locals we asked.

Got a pretty good deal at the holiday Inn next door to Rendezvous from hotels.com

Memphis to me was kind of a mini-New Orleans. Beale st. is only a couple blocks long, but there is a lot of live blues (and a lot of bad versions of mustang sally), but caught a few good groups as well. Big beers to carry down the street. Many tourists partying.

And yes make sure you hit Frenchmen st once you get to the big easy.
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby lolagirl » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:25 am

We're on our way to N'awlins next week and will also be stopping in or around Memphis, so these barbq suggestions are most welcome. Any thoughts on great places to eat and go once we get there? I'd like to find something good but not on the usual tourist wavelength.

Thanks!
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby snoqueen » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:41 am

The way I remember it -- and this could be very old news -- the traffic enforcement on out-of-state cars going through Mississippi (if you go that way) is remarkably strict. You also might check to be sure both your taillights are working.
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Re: On the way to N'awlins....

Postby eriedasch » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:11 pm

lolagirl wrote:Any thoughts on great places to eat and go once we get there? I'd like to find something good but not on the usual tourist wavelength.

Well this is on the "usual tourist wavelength" but still worth it. Get a muffuletta sandwich from Central Grocery on Decatur Street for lunch. The large is around $12 and feeds two people easily. They close at 5p.
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